Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fa La La La La, La La La, Morbid

Boy, I've been busy today! Thank goodness I only make food once a week! Well, this week's main course is a variation on Shepherd's Pie, sort of. Why is it only a variation on Shepherd's Pie? The low-oxalate eater cannot have the amazingly filling potato which is the main component of said pie. Also, a good deal of the vegetables found chopped inside the pie, may be high in oxalate. So, it's a simplified pie made with a few substitutions.

The pie is triple layered bringing to mind the trifle: bottom crust layer of Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower, middle layer of BBQ chopped meat, and a top layer of the Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower again. This is one savory parfait!

This treat is also my entry in this month's You Want Pies With That contest: Make a pie inspired by your favorite holiday song.

Well, I gotta tell you, while the older folks are recalling better days singing White Christmas, I'm sadly a big fan of a little comedy genius that isn't really the family's first choice to sing around a roaring fire. Luckily, I don't have a roaring fire so I don't really care! Here's goes nothing as I present to you:

Grandma Got Runover By A Reindeer Loosemeat Pie
(presented in 3 easy steps)

1) Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

2 heads of organic cauliflower
.40 oz of Parmesan cheese (pre-grated)
2 tsps salt

Clean and cut florets off 1 head of cauliflower.
Fill 8 quart pot with 1 1/2 inches of water.
Place florets in a steam basket insert.
Steam head of cauliflower for about 40 minutes
Dump florets into a large bowl.
Repeat the above steps with the second head of cauliflower.
With both heads of cauliflower in the bowl, use a mashing tool to smash the florets until they have a mashed potato consistency.
Add the Parmesan cheese and salt.

2) Loosemeat
1.25 lbs of organic, low-fat chopped meat
1/4 cup + 2 tbs preferred BBQ sauce (I'm a big fan of Gayley's)
1 tsp of salt
olive oil

Grease a large saute pan with olive oil.
Cook chopped meat over med-high heat until browned.
Turn off heat.
Add BBQ sauce, salt, and stir.

3) Assemble
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a deep dish 9 inch pie plate with some olive oil.
Spread a crust layer of Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower and cook for 12 minutes.
Sprinkle chopped meat on top of crust to form the second layer.
Top with the remainder cauliflower and cook for 25 minutes until slightly golden.
Sprinkle a little leftover meat on top for morbid effect ;)

I admit it does look like quite a process but I swear it's easy as... Okay, you get the picture!

Soup? We're doing Soup?

As any good American on Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to clean-up my DVR. A highlight of my TV sweep was this past week's Top Chef on Bravo. If you've never watched the show, I must say I'm ashamed to semi-know you, but I digress. This week's quickfire challenge ended up with the chefs making soups, and it got me thinking, mmmmmm soup (my mind isn't always that complicated.)

So on my weekly shopping trip, I decided to pick-up the fixins for some basic, delicious liquid joy. I'm very happy with how everything turned out in the end, so here it is:

Butternut Squash Soup
1 lb butternut squash, cut into chunks
1 small leek stem, cut*
32 oz. of preferred broth (I use organic chicken broth)
1 tsp salt, divided 1/2 and 1/2
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup half & half
pat of butter

* leeks are NOT low in oxalate. I only use the small white stem of the leek for a little flavor. If you are completely eliminating oxalate, use 1/4 of a small white onion diced.

Melt a pat of butter in an 8 quart pot.
Add the squash and saute for a few minutes.
Add the leek/onion and saute for a few more minutes.
Add the broth and bring to a boil.
Add half the salt and all of the pepper.
Reduce to a simmer and cover.
Let the soup sit simmering for about 2 hours until the squash is mushy.
Pour the soup into a blender and puree just until smooth.
Put into large serving bowl and add the half & half and the rest of the salt and stir.

Listen, I know what you're thinking: let the soup simmer for 2 hours? But while the squash cooks down and melts into the broth it creates an awesome incorporation of flavor. If you prefer you can absolutely puree at the first sign of softness, but I'm telling you, good flavors do come to those who wait!

Welcome To My Kitchen: As deep as a small closet, as wide as a dining chair

Welcome to my cooking blog which will prove to be informational for those with and without allergies and diet restrictions.  What compelled me to join the rest of the planet in creating my own blog?  I wish I could say it was to share my journey and my frustrations with you but I'm afraid it was a little more selfish- I wanted to connect with another cooking blog out there and had to have my own to do so.

But now that I'm here, it occurs to me that the way I prepare food for myself each week might be helpful for those out there who are stuck with frustrating limitations.  The purpose of You Can't Eat What? is to share my weekly culinary adventures with you, reader, demonstrating that cooking healthy, clean dishes can be simple and sometimes frugal.  I don't want to focus anymore on all the things I can't eat, but instead, all the things I can create with what I have left.

And yes, it's true, I used to love all food.  Everything about it.  The way certain things danced across my tongue and delighted my senses.  But eventually the dancing turned into an unpleasant array of symptoms which now I have to manage.  And every now I eye that candy bar in the store and it feels wrong, like the when you smile at the guy on the other side of the room who you know is bad for you that you want a small piece of.  The difference is that now, that candy, eye or otherwise, is not coming home with me.

So let's get started; I'm starved!!